In Chinese Medicine’s 5-Element tradition, each season is associated with an Element and a number of other qualities the Taoists observed in Nature.

These qualities reflect aspects of a person’s state of mind, body and spirit.  Each of us embodies aspects of all five Elements or seasons, and their related qualities, but we tend to embody one or two most of all.  This is what Chinese Medicine refers to as our “constitutional factor”, or type,  and only a trained, licensed 5-Element acupuncturist or Chinese herbal medicine practitioner can assess your constitutional type.  Kind of the Chinese Medicine version of the Myers Briggs personality inventory used in some Peace Corps staff trainings (in my day at least).

In case you’re wondering, in addition to the four seasons we typically recognize in the West, the ancient Chinese observed the presence of Late Summer, a short plateau phase in August sandwiched between Summer (Mid-May through July) and Autumn (Second week of September to mid- November).

So… SUMMER is associated with:

FIRE (Element)

HEART & Small Intestine (Organs)

BITTER (Taste)

LAUGH (Sound)

RED (Color)

JOY, LOVE (Emotions)

The Fire Element, when it’s in balance, supports our capacity to have fun and enjoy life– easy laughter and connection with others. Fire embodies the energy of summertime:  fun, dancing, BBQ’s, beach, and time with loved ones.

Out of balance, fire energy can show up as inappropriate laughter, nervous giggling, stuttering, inability to love or connect emotionally, sexual over-stimulation, or cravings for mind-altering substances.

Some people with a Fire imbalance might experience heart palpitations, heart disease, irregular or rapid heartbeat, depression (lack of fire), insomnia, sleep apnea, aversion to heat, vivid or disturbing dreams.

And you thought summer was just about hot weather and vacations….